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About Goal: beyond

Meet our founders and learn what drives us to help you.

Our Story

Goal: beyond is a 501 (c) (3) scholarship & capacity-building organization focused on the relationship between continuing education and economic mobility. We believe there is no higher purpose than the pursuit of education and that this pursuit should be accessible to every person regardless of the challenges that they may face.



Today, we're having a conversation that says the finish line isn't actually the completion of a program or degree.  Goal: Beyond works to understand, measure, and actively improve tangible outcomes beyond completion so that everyone can share more equitably in that success.

Meet our leadership

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Ken Ruggiero

Ken is a veteran and innovator in higher education finance with more than 25 years spent managing start-up through Fortune 1000 companies, helping them create meaningful change and improvement in their delivery of financial services.  During his tenure at Goal Financial, from 2003-2007, the company originated more than $8 billion in student loans and became a top 10 student-loan provider.

After the company’s exit from the lending space in 2008, Ken spearheaded the reinvention of Goal Financial into Goal Investment Group, a family of financial technology companies which serve the consumer finance market. Through its services affiliate Goal Solutions, the company services and manages over $22 billion in consumer assets for originators and financial investors. Since 2013, Goal Investment Group has been active investor, deploying $240 million of its own capital in 44 separate transactions.

Since 2015, Ken has also served as CEO of Ascent Funding, a student focused company on a mission to provide access to education for millions of underserved students. Ascent believes that education is an investment in students’ futures and strives to empower students of all economic backgrounds and disciplines to maximize the return on that investment.

Ken also serves as a board member for Founders First Capital Partners and Workforce Talent Educators Association.

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Tatum Drinnenberg

Tatum Drinnenberg serves as Senior Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at Ascent Funding. She brings over seven years of administrative experience to the table with expertise in business management, event management, and executive administrative support.

Originally from Orange County, Tatum relocated San Diego to continue her passion for enabling economic mobility and making education and training affordable to everyone. Tatum continues to pursue an education in Business Management and strives to align Goal Beyond’s objectives with comprehensive administrative knowledge to achieve maximum operational impacts, conserve time and boost efficiency.

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Tristan Fleming

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Matthew Cohen

Matthew Cohen is the Managing Director of Cohen Strategy Group, LLC -- a management consulting firm and leading advisor on education & workforce business strategy.  He leads their work with venture-backed companies, national foundations and state-based organizations to maximize their impact on reducing poverty, promoting equity, and increasing opportunity.

Prior to founding his firm, Cohen co-founded and secured institutional investment for a number of successful EdTech companies focused on post-secondary completion and labor market success, especially for low-income youth and working adults. 

Before that, Cohen worked in politics, Economic Development, and on Capitol Hill.  In addition, he is an active investor in 25+ companies (most of which are concentrated within the EdTech & social impact sector).

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